or [i don’t need a memory box; i have spotify]

2.14.15:

It was over.

Deep down I knew it was.

I sat there and watched as my boyfriend prepared the hookah pipe, sinking deeper into the disillusionment of my sangria. I quickly ducked as one of the ping pong balls bounced off of a Solo cup of beer, one team cheering and mocking the others. The room boomed with the bass of some rap song I’d never heard before. Everything was so loud. I took my final sip and headed towards him, but he was already next to me.

“Hey, you wanna go party with everyone at Tin Roof?”

It was 11 pm on Valentine’s Day.

“No, I’m actually getting a headache. I really think I just need to go home and call it a night,” I said, hoping to convince him of the same.

I didn’t have a headache. I was just pissed.

“Well, okay then. I’ll drive you.” He didn’t even seem to mind.

I grabbed my plastic-wrapped bouquet of tulips from the fridge and clutched them in the car as we drove in silence. They weren’t the most romantic of flowers – I knew he’d probably bought them because, for whatever reason, they were his favorite. His favorite. He had made no plans for our dinner that night, so he’d pulled these out with pride when we got to his place before throwing together our standard pasta dish in defeat. The entire night, I’d been questioning if he even wanted me there at all.

~

“You know I’m sick, so I probably shouldn’t kiss you,” he said as he let me out at the front door of my apartment building. He’d been sick all week. It was his excuse for everything, and while I’d been disappointed earlier, now I couldn’t care less.

“Do you think you’ll join them? I mean, you probably need some rest if you’re feeling that bad.”

“Oh, I’ll probably still go out for a bit.”

“Well…have fun then!” without me, I so desperately wanted to add, still hoping to give him some chance to redeem himself. Was I in the wrong here?

He just smiled and drove off to continue the house party that had erupted in his apartment right after our short dinner.

I went inside, dejected, and found a vase. I couldn’t ignore the sickness in my stomach as I stayed up late to calm my nerves with a lighthearted chick flick, but it only made me feel worse. I went to bed knowing exactly what I had to do.

And the next day, I was right. It was over. My concerns were met with little regard and his decision to end it all. Mostly because he wasn’t getting what he needed. 

I was 24. It was my first relationship. My first Valentine’s Day. And he had singlehandedly ruined it all in a matter of hours, quite fittingly wrapping up what I should have seen as a doomed relationship from the start. 

~

Just that morning, I had been out running errands around town. It was the year of the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie and the incessant repetition of “Love Me Like You Do” on the radio. After the events of that night, the song quickly went from being one of hope and lightheartedness to one that made me sick. It reminded me of what a hopeless fool I’d been, what a lie those words felt like, and what a shame my entire short-lived relationship had been. There were a handful of other songs that brought up the same feelings, but for whatever reason, that one had cut the deepest.

Fast forward to today and I’m nowhere near that Valentine’s Day of 2015. I’m living in a cabin on a horse farm with the love of my life, getting ready to celebrate 2 years together at the BBQ restaurant in Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood where it all began. Valentine’s is no longer a day of loneliness or hurt and frustration. It is a day of celebration – and the anniversary of a laughably awkward first date that turned into so much more. And when it comes to holding onto the memories that mean the most since we officially met, many of those first dates, nights downtown and long car rides are best remembered in songs.

You see – we all have them. Songs that can make or taint the moment. Sometimes we just don’t like the artist or we think the melody is stupid….but sometimes songs have painful memories attached, and it may take months (even years) to get to a place where we can hear them without recoiling. On the brighter side, there are many songs that can lift us up in the worst of times – not even just for what they say or how they sound – but for the memories that come alongside them. The instant transportation to another time and another moment.

Now, instead of a box of photos or ticket stubs waiting to be burned in the case of an unlikely breakup, I have an ongoing Spotify playlist that I keep to remember all the great moments we’ve shared. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” was on repeat as I prepared for that first Saturday date of couch shopping. “Fire Away” was playing as we leaned against the back entrance to the Ryman, spying on a Chris Stapleton concert just before our first kiss. “Working Together” is a ridiculously silly song by Los Colognes that Webb refused to stop listening to and would constantly rewrite for different scenarios as we lived them out. And “Pushin’ Time” is a beautiful song by Miranda Lambert that brought tears to my eyes as I would drive back and forth to College Grove, “trading miles for minutes” so I could get a couple hours sleep before the next day.

Does anyone else have one of these? What are the odd songs that take you back to a certain moment? I wanna know!

Oh….and of course Happy Valentine’s, Galentine’s and (Malentine’s?) to All! ❤ ❤ ❤